Reuters

Changes in employment in the Cleveland area show shifts in which industries are driving the economy.

When economists talk about economic drivers, what they really mean is that there are certain sectors that tend have a much bigger influence on our overall economic health than others. Sorry, baristas, but services don't tend to be one of them. The real economic moving and shaking happens in manufacturing, real estate and health-care. And as you might have heard, there's been some turbulence those three industries in recent years.

This is especially true in Northeast Ohio. Just take a look at the chart below, which focuses on the Cleveland-Akron-Youngstown region, courtesy the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium:

Image credit: NEOSCC

Motor vehicle manufacturing and motor vehicle parts manufacturing saw some of the largest drops in employment between 2006 and 2010, while the "general medical and surgical hospitals" category saw the largest increase. The losses far outweigh the gains here, with about 18,000 jobs in the auto industry evaporating and about 7,000 materializing in the hospital industry between 2006 and 2010. But if you look at nearly every other sector that saw employment drop during that time, the vast majority are either manufacturing or metal-producing.

Though there's not too much for Northeast Ohio to smile about in the growth category, there's at least this one strong indication of an industry – the health-care sector – on an economy-driving trajectory. The region might want to start doing more to help it continue on that path.

Top photo: Allison Joyce / Reuters

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